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Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday declared a public health emergency in Wisconsin after two new probable cases of swine flu were reported in the state.
Several more schools were to close Friday in Milwaukee, in addition to the four closed Thursday. Doyle said his executive order will allow state health officials to suspend procurement regulations and other rules that could slow the dispensation of anti-viral medications to the public.
The medications will be available to people who need them regardless of whether they have health insurance, Doyle said.
He also said he has authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to use its resources as necessary to assist the state's response to the outbreak.
The declaration "will give public health officials the tools they need to respond to this challenge," Doyle said.
-- Officials said the state has submitted 228 suspected cases for testing. Results were pending on 41 cases, 182 had been ruled negative, the five were considered probable and none had been confirmed.
Based on new information on circulation of a new influenza A (H1N1) virus among people in the US and Mexico first detected in April, 2009, this document provides updated interim planning guidance for State, territorial, tribal, and local communities. This guidance includes recommendations on school dismissal for K – 12 schools and closure of childcare programs and facilities and updates previously issued guidance on community mitigation interventions for this disease (April 28, 2009, www.cdc.gov...). School dismissal and childcare closures are an important part of a comprehensive, layered mitigation approach aimed at reducing disease transmission and associated morbidity and mortality during the 2009 H1N1 virus outbreak in the US.
The goals of these strategies are to slow the spread of the disease in a community to 1) delay the peak of the disease in order to “buy time” for the production and distribution of a vaccine against this new virus, 2) decrease the number of people who get sick from this virus in a given community, thus reducing the “surge” on healthcare systems, and 3) reduce the total number of people who get sick or die.